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2013 NFHS Volleyball Points of Emphasis


1. Expectation of Properly Trained Assistant Officials – Assistant officials include the scorer, libero tracker, timer, and line judges. Secured and trained by host management (unless state association policy stipulates otherwise), it is imperative that these members of the extended officiating crew are properly trained in advance of the match. Host management should be diligent in ensuring the proper selection and assignment of these assistant officials as there is a reasonable expectation from the referees and participants that these individuals are properly trained and capable of carrying out their assigned duties. Assistant officials who are not prepared and educated in their duties could potentially cause unwarranted delays in the match or even have an impact on the outcome of a rally, set or match. The importance of these assistant officials – scorer, tracker, timer, and line judges – in ensuring a climate of fair competition should not be underestimated.


2. Legal and Properly-Worn Player Uniforms, Equipment and Accessories – Rule 4 Note indicates that “prior to the match, head coaches shall verify that all their players are legal and wearing legal uniforms and equipment.” To accurately make this verification, the coach must know that his/her players are properly uniformed and equipped. Coaches should educate their players about the types of legal equipment and accessories at the start of the season to ensure players obtain legal items for their use during matches throughout the season. It is also the responsibility of the coach to ensure that the uniforms of teammates and the libero meet all NFHS requirements. After observing his/her players prior to the pre-match conference and ensuring that they are legally and properly equipped, the head coach is then fully able to make this verification to the game referees.


3. Mastering Officials Mechanics – The officiating crew will impact the tone and flow of the competition in many ways, such as through their professionalism, knowledge of the rules and communication. For a referee, knowledge of the rules and mechanics of the officials’ signals is key for communication as well as exhibiting confidence in your call. Referees should take time each season to review the signals and practice their timing when using the signal sequence. Equally important is to master the mechanics of various responsibilities, such as the substitution procedure, and the second referee scanning the court and team bench areas before signaling ready to play to the first referee. There are several changes in the mechanics and the sequence of hand signals that match officials must master in order to be a positive factor in the match as this new season opens.



2012 NFHS Volleyball Points of Emphasis


1.    Required Placement of Antennas and Optional Use of Vertical Tape Markers – As stated in Rule 3-1-5, net antennas shall be attached to the net in line with the outside edge of the sideline and extend upward at least 2 ½ feet but no more than 3 ½ feet above the net.  The antennas shall be fastened securely to the top and bottom of the net.  If vertical tape markers are used, they are fastened to each end of the net.  The marker is located directly over and perpendicular to the sideline.  The antennas should be affixed to the outer edge of the marker.  Whether tape markers are used or not, antennas should be place perpendicular to and in line with the outside edge of each sideline.


2.    Court Protocol at Start of the Set – Rule 5-3-4a states that the second referee checks the lineups for each team.  In some circumstances, team huddles at the start of the set have delayed the ability of the second referee to check the lineups in a timely manner.  Team huddles on the court shall not interfere with the ability of the second referee to check lineups in a timely manner or delay the start of the set.  If a huddle, cheer, etc. causes such an interference or delay, the officials shall signal the players into position and administer the situation in such a way to prevent future delays.


3.    Manufacturer’s Logo on Player Uniforms/Visible Garments Worn Under the Uniform Top –According to Rules 4-2-7 and 4-2-9, a single partial/whole manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference, no more than 2 ¼ square inches with no dimension more than 2 ¼ inches, is permitted on each piece of the uniform and visible garments worn under the uniform top provided placement does not interfere with the visibility of the player’s number.  Some manufacturers are making uniform items with multiple logos in different locations – e.g., at the front neckline and on the back of the uniform top.  Players are folding over waistbands that include multiple manufacturer logos making them visible.  Other players are wearing visible garments under the uniform which include manufacturer logos larger than the designated size.  Coaches and players shall check all uniform items and visible garments worn under the uniform in advance to ensure compliance with the manufacturer’s logo rules.


4.    Proper Training of Assistant Officials –According to Rule 5-1-1, assistant officials include the scorer, libero tracker, timer and line judges.  However these assistant officials are secured, it is imperative that they are properly trained prior to the match.  While match referees will review the duties of each assistant official with the assigned individual, it is not the responsibility of the match referees to train these individuals.  Improperly trained scorers, trackers and line judges can cause significant delays within the match and could impact the outcome of a rally or match.  Their importance should not be underestimated.


5.    Importance of Line Judges – The importance of line judges in the game of volleyball cannot be emphasized enough.  The fast pace and powerful play makes it extremely difficult for the referees to consistently and accurately observe all the hits landing in the proximity of the sidelines and end lines or a ball passing outside the net antennae or critical touches by a player(s) as a ball goes out of bounds.  The line judges must step up and assist with these calls for the referees.  However, because it is customary in many matches to use individuals other than officials for line judges, the burden of quality in officiating in the line judge position rests with the schools.  Advanced and proper training is paramount to the quality of the line judges and their ability to carry out their responsibilities and the total quality of the officiated match.  With every end of rally resulting in a point, the match will be shortchanged for the players if the line judges are not properly trained and expected to meet their responsibilities.


6.    Substitutes and Libero Entry onto the Playing Court – Without careful attention by the second referee, the scorer and the libero tracker, it is easy to have an error occur in the procedure or actual substitution or libero replacement.  The second referee is responsible to recognize and grant a requested legal substitution, be certain the scorer has the sub recorded before sending the incoming player(s) onto the court, the substitution procedure is followed and the substitute assumes the proper position on the court.  If there is a libero replacement, the second referee must be aware of the replacement and the proper procedure followed.  The libero tracker must record and be certain this is the correct player.  The scorer must be alert if the libero is to serve and be certain the libero is serving in the proper position in the serving order.  A lack of focus in any of these positions can let an error occur undetected which upon discovery will cause confusion and interrupt the flow of play.  It is critical each of these individuals know these and their other responsibilities for substitutions, replacements and keep their focus for substitutions and libero replacements entering the court.



2010 NFHS Volleyball Points of Emphasis

1.  Conduct of head coach while standing – The head coach may stand only in the replacement zone, not behind the bench, and not closer than six feet to the sideline, to coach his/her players during play according to Rule 12-2-6.  During the set, the coach should not enter the substitution zone, either during play or during a dead ball.  If the coach needs a clarification of a rule or referee decision, a lineup check, a time-out or substitution, or has a scorekeeping concern, those items should be addressed to the second referee while the coach remains outside the substitution zone and in the replacement zone.  The head coach is not at liberty to address the line judge or comment directly/indirectly regarding a call or judgment of the line judge.  The second referee must intervene if the coach oversteps his/her boundary in comments to the line judge.  The head coach would be allowed in the substitution zone between sets when submitting a new written lineup for the subsequent set, while changing benches and to tend to an injured player during a dead ball.  If a team member (coaches, substitutes, managers, trainer, etc.) receives a card (yellow or red) for unsporting conduct, the head coach shall remain seated during the remainder of the match except to stand and request a time-out or substitution, to confer with officials during specifically requested time-outs, or as provided in Rule 12-2-5.  On the first action in conflict with the rules, if minor, a verbal warning from the second referee should suffice through preventative officiating, but subsequent violations warrant issuing a card.

2.  Libero – The libero is a defensive specialist who may only play in the back row and may serve in one rotation, according to Rule 10-4.  The player must be designated both on the roster (with L preceding his/her number if it is different from the regular jersey number) and on the written lineup.  If the lineup has been submitted by the deadline and entered into the official scorebook, the libero number may not be added and the first set will be played without a libero.  The libero may take a position on the court after the original lineup is checked and may only be replaced by the player whom he/she replaced.  One libero replacement may be exercised per rally/dead ball, unless the libero is replacing the right back position and will serve the next rally.  Libero replacements do not count as substitutions and they are unlimited.  The libero tracker should record all substitutions, libero replacements and should notify the second referee if there is an illegal replacement. The replacement must occur during a dead ball prior to the whistle/signal for serve.  If the libero is injured or ill and cannot continue play, the head coach may redesignate a new libero player at any time during the rest of the set/match.  Redesignation does not need to occur immediately and is at the discretion of the coach.  The new libero must wear a libero jersey with a unique number not worn by any other player (see Rule 10-4-3(3)) and will remain the libero for the rest of the set.  The original libero may not re-enter the set as a libero or regular player.   One of the duties of the second referee is to monitor the libero replacements.  For an illegal libero replacement prior to the whistle/signal for serve, an unnecessary delay is charged.  After the whistle/signal and/or contact of serve, an illegal alignment is charged to the team and a loss of rally/point is awarded. 

3.  Timer’s responsibility for all time-outs – As listed in Rule 5-7, the official timer shall report to the first referee no less than 20 minutes before the scheduled match starting time.  The duties of the timer include testing the timing device prior to the match and timing the pre-match warm-ups.  He/she should be seated at the official table beside the official scorer.  During the sets, the timer should  time the interval for team time-outs (60 seconds), giving an audio signal at the end of 45 seconds and 60 seconds if the teams have not returned to the court prior to the end of the 60 seconds.  The timer must also time injury time-outs (30 seconds), beginning with the referee's signal and giving an audio signal at the end of the 30 seconds, unless the referees have indicated otherwise or play has resumed.  The time between sets is three minutes, beginning with the first referee’s signal for the teams to report to their benches.  An audio signal should be given at 2:45 and again at 3:00 if the teams have not returned to the court.  For a deciding set (#5 of best 3/5 and #3 in best 2/3), the timer should wait to start the 3 minutes until the coin toss is completed and the second referee instructs the timer to start the clock.

4.  Informal Signals – The informal signals that the second referee uses to communicate with the first referee are listed in the NFHS Volleyball Case Book and Website,  Use of informal signals should be decided in the pre-match discussion between the referees.  One signal has been modified and one has been added for 2010.  As a quick review, the informal signals are listed below:

a.  Set/match point is indicated by placing the index finger flat against the shoulder closest to the team that has set point.

b.  Four hits - Discreetly give four-hit signal in front of chest.

c.  Identifying possible back-row player violation - Discreetly show back-row attack signal in front of chest.

d.  Position of setter prior to serve - Several ways to do this:  2  fingers means back-row setter; 1 finger means front row; thumb means front row, little finger means back-row; may also discreetly  show back row attack signal at chest.  These signals may be used in leg, mid-section or chest area and are not necessary every play.

e.  Illegal hit - The second referee should assist the first referee in making illegal hit judgments by giving a discreet signal in front of the chest.  Only when the R1's view is blocked does the R2 blow the whistle.  In the pre-match conference between officials, this is an area that needs to be discussed. 

f.  Ready to Play - The second referee signals ready to play to the first referee after an R2 interruption (injury, substitution, time-out or scorekeeping clarification) by extending arm, open hand perpendicular to the floor with the outside hand on the receiving team's side.  The R2 should be in position on the receiving team's side, whistle in mouth, when the Ready to Play signal is given.

g.  Communication of numbers to first referee - When the second referee initiates an interruption of play for a center line or net violation, the number of the player is indicated to the first referee.  The R1 repeats the number using the following method:  Right hand is base hand for numbers 0-9, show appropriate fingers using right hand first (nine would be 5 fingers on right hand, 4 on left hand simultaneously); "ten" is  closed fist with right hand, 11-19, combine above signals, giving right closed fist for ten first and then right/right-left combination for second digit; numbers 20 and above, show first digit with right hand and second digit with left or both hands successively.  (23 would be two on right hand and 3 on left hand; 26 would be two on right hand, and then five on right hand and one on left hand at same time).

5.  Court management – Court management for the referee can be broken down into three parts: pre-match, during the match, and post-match.  Pre-match includes arriving on time at the site, good communication with your partner on how you expect to work together and communication with host management and other officials.  Your pre-match conference with the teams and introduction to the coaches sets the tone of how things will progress.  Be professional and courteous.  Reminders to coaches for key deadlines, legal uniforms, rosters and meeting with the line judges are a part of the official’s management style.  As a second referee, it is important to establish a rapport with the scorer, timer and libero tracker.  Establishing the types of informal communication to take place between the referees is important to maintain the flow of play.  During the match, the referees need to make decisive, consistent decisions using proper signals to improve confidence and reduce controversy.  Centering with good eye contact between the R1 and R2 keeps the officiating team together.  The referees should be aware of their choice of words and body language when communicating with coaches and players.  Follow the proper procedures for substitutions and keep the sub zone clear of coaches.  Assist coaches by not allowing them to abuse their opportunity to stand and coach.  There should be no arguing on a call.  If necessary, use a yellow card to bring a coach back in line before he/she becomes unsporting.  Addressing unruly spectators should be delegated to host management.  Post-match, complete the functions with the scoresheet and exit the court area immediately as a pair.  A post-match honest debriefing between partners about each other’s performance is important for improvement.  Continue to improve by establishing a positive officiating environment.  Know the rules to keep the game of volleyball fair and safe.  Know how to administer those rules not only black and white but the grey areas as well.  Practice and develop good communication skills with the entire officiating crew. 

6.  Second referee responsibilities – The R2 has the responsibility to make many critical checks before the match begins.  The second referee will check the scorer’s table, the scoreboard, placement of the team benches and meet with the scorer, libero tracker and timer.  During the prematch conference, the second referee is present and assists the first referee with review of rules, local ground rules and several other items to be certain the match is conducted fairly and with good communication.  During play the R2 works closely with the crew at the officials table.  The R2 handles a scoring discrepancy or problems with libero replacements. The second referee has the responsibility to check the receiving team players’ positions against the lineup card and then move to the serving team side to do the same.  Once the lineup is checked, the R2 rolls the ball to the first server and assumes the proper position on the receiving team’s side of the court.  Prior to each signal for serve, the R1 and R2 should make eye contact to ensure readiness.  The second referee has primary responsibility for the net area. The R2 must focus on the center line and net with a down, up, down pattern.  The R2 should continually transition to be positioned on the blocking side of the net and must do this quickly and without losing visibility of the court.  The second referee is responsible for expedient and efficient substitution of players to keep the flow of the set moving.  The R2 is responsible for assuring all time-outs are administered properly and smoothly with all parties involved.  There may be times when the R1 is unable to observe the player’s contact with the ball because it is out of his/her view.  In these cases, which are not frequent, the R2 will step in to assist with the call.  The R2 mirrors the first referee’s signals as outlined in Rule 5-4-3 and checks the scoresheet for accuracy during time-outs and at the end of each set.  The R1 and R2 work together as a team and good communication is essential.  The R2’s role includes good communication with the table officials and with the coaches at appropriate times.  Proper mechanics aid in communication not only with the teams but the fans as well. 

7.  Line judges – Line judges duties are vitally important to the expediency of the match.  Their duties are listed in detail under Rule 5-8.  Signals are illustrated in the back of the NFHS Volleyball Rules Book.  It is imperative that line judges be trained, either by the host school or the officials organizations.  It is preferred for varsity matches that adults be used as line judges.  Line judges should be trained prior to the beginning of the season and they should be trained with theoretical and practical training on scrimmage matches.    Professionalism and impartiality are vital parts of their duties in addition to those specifically listed in the rules.  During the match, their only communication should be with the officiating crew.  In the unlikely event that any team member makes inappropriate comments to a line judge, that action should be reported to the first or second referee on the next dead ball.  Flags are an option for line judges and the referees would inform the line judges prior to the match if flags are to be used and the specific duties and mechanics in regard to using them.  Prior to the match, line judges are assigned their positions and should review the duties with the first referee.  If each team provides a line judge, they should begin opposite their "team" and maintain that position throughout the match.  In the case of injury/illness when a line judge cannot complete his/her duties, the LJ should be replaced. 

8.  Judging height of the ball on completed attack by the libero – One of the duties of the R1 is to judge the legality of the attack by the libero.  The rule specifically states that the libero may not return a ball that is completely above the height of the net from anywhere on the court.  The key words in the rule are "completely" and "anywhere".  The back-row attack rule does not apply to the libero so where the takeoff is executed is irrelevant.  In judging the legality of the libero attack, one must look at the path of the ball after contact.  If the ball travels in only a downward motion after the contact over the net, the attack was definitely illegal.  If the ball rises and then falls before crossing the net, it is likely a legal attack.  The farther back in the court the libero is positioned, the more difficult the decision for the referee as to whether or not the ball was completely above the net at the point of contact.  If the libero was in front of the attack line, judging the height of the ball in relation to the net would be much easier.  One might consider the height of the player in the libero position, whether or not he/she jumps before or during the attack and the arm motion used. It really does not matter what method the libero uses to contact the ball, but whether or not the ball is completely above the height of the net at the contact and results in a completed attack.  Another factor to consider might be the frequency of sets to the libero to execute attacks.  If the setter is setting the libero with regularity and it appears that she is scoring several "kills" with the attack, the libero might be more of an offensive player and the referee should look closely at the ball and its relationship to the height of the net. Another thing to consider is if the libero is being set with regularity during warm ups and if the team is depending on the libero to score several kills or points with her attacking motion during play.  Keep in mind also that to whistle a violation of any rule, the referee must see a violation.  When in doubt, err to the side of the libero and give him/her the benefit of the doubt.

2009 NFHS Volleyball Points of Emphasis


Risk minimization during warm ups - During a team warm-up period all personnel actively conducting the warm-up activities should be properly attired for the duties required. Special attention should be given to ensure that auxiliary personnel are wearing appropriate footwear for active participation and electronic devices such as music devices and cell phones are not being used.

Illegal libero replacement penalties - An illegal libero replacement occurring before the whistle/signal for serve is an unnecessary delay. For example, a libero attempting to replace a player (who is not going to serve next) without sitting out a rally, a second libero entering the same game, etc. Once the referee whistles and signals for serve an illegal libero replacement is considered illegal alignment and a loss of rally/point is awarded to the opponent. If the illegal libero replacement is not detected until contact of the serve the penalty is also illegal alignment.

Officials’ signals and mechanics - Proper execution of signals and mechanics by officials are essential in communicating game decisions. Signals are intended to clearly communicate violations and results. Signals should be precise and clearly visible. Officials should review all signals and mechanics during pre-season training and during prematch official's conferences.

Special attention should be given to reviewing signals such as the proper technique and hand placement for the line violation (signal #2) and ball lands in bounds (signal #13), as well as the situations in which ball touched (signal #10) and out-of-bounds (signal #14) should be used.

Fan behavior and respect for the game - Good sporting conduct is an integral part of the interscholastic volleyball program. The rules of volleyball state that any type of cheering, yelling, or other actions which are done in a manner to disconcert, be derogatory or taunting toward the opposing team or a specific player is considered inappropriate. Cheering and other support should always be positive. Inappropriate behavior, if not addressed allows a loss of respect for the game and the players.

MRSA and communicable skin conditions - Methecillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aurues (MRSA) is a relatively new problem in our communities and in the sports world. However, it is an increasingly more common problem with potentially serious consequences. The risk to our athletes can be reduced dramatically by proper preventive measures, early identification, precautions to minimize spread to team members and opponents, and quick and appropriate treatment. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) has developed multiple position and policy statements on this topic and that of communicable skin diseases in general over the last few years. These can be found on the NFHS web site under Sports Medicine. One of the very first pages in this NFHS Rules Book deals with this issue.

MRSA represents the evolution of a common bacteria, "Staph", to an aggressive and resistant bacteria. This has occurred, in part, because of the wide spread use of antibiotics. As we kill off the sensitive or "easy staph", the stronger more virulent ones, who are resistant to penicillin and standard antibiotics, grow stronger and more aggressive. Scientists continue to develop new antibiotics to attack these stubborn bacteria but it is a race where the scientists need help to stay ahead of the resistant bacteria. Judicious use of antibiotics, as well as measures discussed in this point of emphasis can help all of us be safer from communicable diseases of all types and especially the more dangerous ones like MRSA.

Most skin infections are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact or by contact with equipment that has the "germ" present. Our skin is a very strong protective organ in our body but the risk of transmission of bacteria, fungus, and viruses is greater if the integrity of the skin is weakened by a scrape, scratch, or other open place. Football, because of the equipment, and wrestling, because of the extensive skin-to-skin contact and the wrestling mat are considered the highest risk sports for MRSA and other skin diseases like ring worm (tinea corporis), herpes simplex and herpes gladiatorum, and impetigo.


In medicine, prevention is always considered the best treatment for any disorder, when possible. Basic hygienic principles are the foundation to help reduce/prevent the development and spread of these infectious diseases. Individual athletes need to shower after each event or practice, use his/her own soap or use a liquid soap from a dispenser and not community bar soap to shower, avoid sharing towels and other items, have all open wounds or abrasions evaluated by the coach or certified athletic trainer before each practice or competition, and use clean undergarments with each practice or contest.


The only thing worse for a coach and a team than having one player out of action because of a skin infection is to have multiple players coming down with infections that lead to loss of playing time and/or serious health issues for the individuals and the team. Therefore, early identification of the illness, quick removal from exposure of teammates, proper cleaning of individual equipment and shared equipment as well as appropriate treatment of the infected individuals is critical. It is impossible to know exactly when a lesion is no longer contagious to others but minimal treatment regimens have been suggested before allowing athletes to return to play. (See below) Universal precautions, which are described below, should be used by all concerned to minimize the likelihood of skin infection spreading.


The appropriate use of antibiotics is the mainstay for treating MRSA and other bacterial infections of the skin. Topical and/or oral anti-fungal medications can be helpful in treating ringworm. In certain situations anti-viral medications may be used for such viral infections as herpes gladiatorum and herpes simplex. Even then, wounds and lesions should be covered to protect all involved. If lesions do not respond as suggested by the physician, a return visit for further evaluation should be considered as this might suggest resistant infections such as MRSA.


Following these guidelines will help reduce the occurrences and outbreaks of infectious diseases. This will take active participation of the coach, parent and athlete. Together this will create a healthy environment that will allow the athlete compete and reduce the risk of being sidelined.


Any lesion, scrape, or wound on the skin should be evaluated by a certified athletic trainer or physician

Seek medical care as soon as possible for personal safety and to protect teammates

Don't return to action until advised to do so by a physician

If lesion is not clearing as expected, return for additional medical consultation, as failure to respond can be a sign of MRSA

Coach should be made aware of any lesion considered infectious

Shower after every practice or contest, as soon as possible

Use clean gear and undergarments for every practice or contest

Avoid cosmetic shaving (genital area, chest, legs)

Use soap from a container, not bar soap

Don't share toiletries, towels, or other equipment

Don't use a whirlpool or cold tub with any open wounds, scrapes or scratches

Shower before using whirlpools or common tubs

All abrasions or cuts must be properly cleansed and covered before practice/competition


Withdraw any athlete with a suspicious skin lesion until evaluated by a physician

Clean mats, and equipment on a regular basis with appropriate disinfectants (1:100 solution of bleach like Clorox made up fresh daily)

If an infection has occurred in team member, check other athletes daily before practice

If several athletes develop infection with the same organism, seek consultation with physician or health department to eradicate spread as soon as possible. They may suggest special techniques to eradicate the bacteria from the skin and/or nose of team members or other epidemiological studies with cultures, etc.

Make sure athletes are cleared by physician before returning them to practice or games. This protects everyone including your team members

Even after medical clearance, keep lesions covered until skin is covered over and wound is healed.

Always use "universal precautions" when dealing with a skin lesion as you would with blood and other bodily fluids. This means gloves, hand washing, proper disposal of contaminated equipment in plastic and/or biohazard bags

Notify appropriate personnel at opposing school after the fact if lesions are detected in your team within a 2-3 day period of a previous contest

Libero uniform in contrasting color - Rules 4-2-1 through 4 are very specific to legal uniform requirements. Even with this specificity in the rules, coaches and officials struggle with the legal libero uniform top. It is essential that the top be in sharp contrasting color to the color(s) used in the uniform top of the libero's teammates. If a style of uniform is being worn which has a pattern of colors it may be difficult to use a libero uniform that contains these same colors. In these cases it may be wise to consider a single color top for the libero. When using home and away uniforms, if the colors are similar (dark green for home and black for away) the libero top would not be legal and a separate contrasting color must be used. Now that the libero is a part of the high school game, coaches must consider the requirements of the libero uniform when ordering uniforms to be certain compliance is reached. Thus, colors and styles must be thought through before ordering to avoid problems for the team and/or the libero.


2007 NFHS Volleyball Points of Emphasis



A surrounding trim (border) or shadow border on part of the uniform number is legal providing trim colors are solid and do not exceed ½ inch at its widest measurement. The number must always be clearly visible and at least ¾ inch wide at its narrowest width. The body of the number or trim (border) must be made of a sharp contrasting color to the uniform top. When using a contrasting color trim for number visibility, it must completely surround the number. A shadow on part of the number, even if a sharp contrasting color, shall not make the uniform number legal. Therefore, this design requires the body of the number to be of a solid color in contrast to the uniform top.


Uniforms must still be worn as intended by the manufacturer. Certain restrictions have been added to this rule to become more appropriate for interscholastic teams. Bare midriff tops are not allowed. The uniform top must hang below or be tucked into the waistband of the bottom of the uniform when the player is standing upright. The committee recognizes that the uniform top may not stay tucked in during play. This rule is intended to determine the legality of a uniform prior to play.


Beginning with the 2009-2010 school year the state association adoption in Rule 5-1-2 Note permitting a modification to the officials’ uniforms shall be deleted. The officials' uniform will be an all white short sleeved collared polo shirt, black slacks, solid black athletic shoes and black socks. A "new Note" addresses the potential need of the individual state association to allow the wearing of black shorts to accommodate extreme hot, humid weather conditions in the early part of the season.


The libero may replace the player in the right back position in the service order. The libero may only serve in one position in the serving order. If the libero is in the game immediately prior to moving to a serving position there does not have to be a rally between libero replacements if the libero serves the next rally. When the libero is going to serve it is good preventative officiating for the umpire to turn and verbally inform the scorer, "libero serving."


Rule 9-5-6b has been clarified to state that it is illegal for the libero to set the ball with overhand finger action on or in front of the attack line extended if the result is a completed attack above the height of the net. The completed attack may be the result of a teammate or from the libero sending the ball over the net. It is not illegal if the attack is not completed.


The written lineup is now to be submitted in the proper serving order. The lineup sheet should list the player numbers in the serving order. The lineup should not be submitted in floor position order. The submission of the lineup in serving order should help the scorer in recording the proper serving order in the scoresheet. The first server should always be listed first on the lineup sheet, regardless of whether the team is serving or receiving. Umpires must identify the serving and receiving teams when transferring this information to their lineup card to then verify the team's proper lineup by floor position prior to the start of each game. The libero must still be designated and listed on the lineup sheet as an additional player.



Rule 6-3-Penalty 2 added, "an illegal replacement found in the game," to the rule and the language in the penalty. When an illegal replacement is found in the game the offending team is assessed the penalty for illegal alignment resulting in a loss of rally/point being awarded as soon as the illegal replacement is discovered and verified.

The term 'libero replacement' was added to the list of requests that are not to be granted once the referee's signal for re-serve has been given.

Rule 10-4-2c states that the replacement may only take place while the ball is out of play and before the whistle/signal for serve rather than at contact of serve. A re-serve is considered as one attempt to serve the ball.

Rule 10-4-3 adds the statement that a replacement can occur after a time-out when all players have returned to the court provided the replacement sits out one rally/dead ball. The restriction prohibits the replacement from taking place during the time-out when the team(s) are not on the court.


The use of artificial noisemakers is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to thunder sticks, sirens, soda cans with coins, cowbells, etc. Host management may permit music/sound effects, which shall only be allowed during pre-match, time-outs, intermission between games and post-match. Spectator/player shouting, clapping and cheerleaders with megaphones used as intended are permitted under the criteria of this rule.


Rule 5-1-2 was updated to include electronic equipment to the list of devices that are prohibited to be used by officials during a match when making decisions related to games. With the advancement of technology the previous restrictions were not keeping pace with new equipment. As in the past, all restricted items are also prohibited should a coach request to review an official's decision and suggest using electronic equipment for review of the decision.


Although not a rule change from previous application, the rulebook has been updated to clearly identify the head coach's responsibilities and privileges. All areas of the rulebook have been updated to specify head coach or assistant coach if a restriction is part of the rule. In addition to specifying that the head coach must attend the pre-match conference and the head coach may stand to provide instruction, the wording of "head" coach has been inserted to identify it is the head coach who requests a time-out and substitutions.


The official's signal #17 has been changed. At the completion of any rally or penalty point awarded, the official shall extend the forearm horizontally toward the team to have the next serve with palm perpendicular to the floor. This signal should be held long enough for the scorer to acknowledge the winner of the rally and proper recording of the point, but the arm must then be dropped to the side of the official prior to raising the arm in preparation to whistle and signal for serve. The mechanics shall be whistle, signal violation, signal point (with the new signal). With rally scoring it is no longer necessary to signal point as the end of any rally always results in point for the team being awarded the next serve. This signal is also now similar to other rule codes.


Unnecessary delay is charge to the offending team when an illegal libero replacement takes place before the next service contact. If the illegal replacement is found in the game after service contact illegal alignment results. The libero replacement must take place before the whistle/signal for serve if it is to be considered legal.


For the purpose of risk minimization players may not wear jewelry in warm-ups or competition. If a player is discovered wearing jewelry during warm-ups the official will direct the player to remove the jewelry. If the player does not comply the player will be charged with unsporting conduct. Ultimately the coach is responsible for being sure the players do not report to the court for warm-ups or competition wearing jewelry and that each player is properly attired.


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